Six years ago today, my father died. In a hospice, without the face I remembered from my times, few and far between, with the man I didn't know was my father.
Six years ago today, I met my husband. At an open mic, in another state that would eventually become my home.
Six years ago today, I had no idea my father was dying. No idea he might have cried out for me or reached for me or whispered my name to a passing nurse.
Six years ago today, I had no idea the drummer with the Ohio accent would become my husband, or my friend or the father of my child.
Six years ago today, I had it all and felt free for the first time ever and I loved every second of it.
Six years ago today, despite the freedom, I was lost, looking for myself and who I wanted to be.
Six years ago today, despite my efforts, my father was lost, looking for me.
Six years ago today, the stars aligned and fates crossed and my father, my husband and myself became forever intertwined. Whether I was ready, or not. And I wasn't ready. To be in love again. To lose the father I'd only started searching for, to find...me. But I did.
To my father,
Today Lilliana's eyes sparkled the way yours used to. The times I saw you. It took me back, caught me off guard, to see you in there rattling around in her glare. I felt like you saw me through her eyes, or she saw me through yours. I couldn't tell. But in that instant, I felt you around us, thickening the air, filling my lungs with your presence. It only lasted a second, but I tried to hold on to it. I tried not to let go. And then she looked away and the air was thin again and my lungs struggled for breaths, the way they always will without you around.
If you could do that again, so I know you see me, so I know you hear me, the cracks in my heart could start to heal. Until the day I die, I'll hurt for you. I'll miss you. And most of all, I'll love you.
Your only daughter